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Long term absence dismissal letter template

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If an employee is unable to return to their job as a result of long-term absence and there are no suitable alternatives, send this model letter to confirm dismissal.

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How long to understand and prepare this letter?
10 mins
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long term absence dismissal letter template

What is a Long term absence dismissal letter?

A long-term absence dismissal letter is a formal communication from an employer to an employee who has been absent from work for an extended period, usually due to illness or injury. The letter typically informs the employee that their employment will be terminated due to their prolonged absence.

The letter should state the reasons for the dismissal, including the length of the absence and the employer's efforts to support the employee during this time. The letter should also inform the employee of their rights to appeal the decision and any entitlements they may have under their employment contract, such as notice pay or redundancy pay.

It is important for employers to handle long-term absence dismissals sensitively and fairly, following all relevant employment laws and regulations. Employers should also provide appropriate support to employees who are absent due to illness or injury, including access to occupational health services and reasonable adjustments to enable a return to work where possible.

Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this letter, and to whom?
The Employer (you) to the Employee
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this letter be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide
United Kingdom
  • The Equality Act 2010: Employers must not discriminate against employees due to their disability or health condition. This means they should make reasonable adjustments to support a disabled employee's return to work, including adjusting working hours or duties.

  • The Employment Rights Act 1996: This act outlines the minimum notice periods that employers must give to employees before dismissing them. The notice periods depend on the length of service of the employee and range from one week to 12 weeks.

  • The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Regulations 2018: These regulations state that employers must pay SSP to employees who are absent from work due to illness or injury, subject to certain eligibility criteria. Employees are entitled to SSP for up to 28 weeks.

  • The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures: This code provides guidance for employers on how to handle disciplinary and dismissal processes fairly and consistently. Employers should follow this code when dismissing employees due to long-term absence.

  • The Data Protection Act 2018: Employers must ensure that any personal data they collect and process about an employee's health or disability is done in compliance with this act, including obtaining the employee's consent and ensuring that the data is kept confidential.

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Other territories

Refer to your local employment legislation / labor laws to support the execution of the template. Review the wording for local accuracy.

Long term absence dismissal [Delete this line]

[Company name]

[Sender address]



[Recipient name]

[Recipient address]


Dear [Recipient first name],


Termination of employment

I refer to our meeting on [date] concerning your absence from work due to illness.

Following our earlier consultations with you and warnings that [Company] might have to consider terminating your employment on the grounds of your long-term absence from work since [date], you attended, at our request, a consultation with [name of doctor].

[Name of doctor] [advised that it would be inadvisable for you to return to your current employment.] OR [recommended that [details of recommendations] would be necessary to enable your return to work. We consider these recommendations and discussed them with you, however have decided that they are not viable [give reasons].]

We held a meeting with you on [date] during which we discussed the possibility of alternative employment, but unfortunately there are no vacancies that would be suitable for you. I regret, therefore, that [Company] has no alternative but to terminate your employment with effect from [date].


As you were not well enough to attend a meeting with us, we had to make a decision as to the continuation of your employment without the benefit of a joint discussion. I regret that our decision is that [Company] has no alternative but to terminate your employment with effect from [date].]

We appreciate that your absence has been due to health reasons, and we have made every effort to accommodate your needs. However, we must also consider the impact that your absence has had on the business and our ability to continue operating effectively. Unfortunately, we have now reached the point where we are unable to sustain your continued absence any longer.

We will make a payment to you in lieu of your notice period of [state length of notice period] and a payment in lieu of any accrued but untaken statutory holiday entitlement for the current holiday year. Please note that all benefits under your contract will therefore come to an end on [date of termination].

We understand that this news will come as a shock, and we want to assure you that we have taken this decision after careful consideration of all the facts. If you wish to discuss this matter further, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We wish you all the best for the future.

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You have the right of appeal against this decision. Your appeal should be directed to [Name | the HR Department | HR Services] within [number] days of receiving this letter. It should set out in full the reason(s) for your appeal.


Yours [faithfully | sincerely],



[Sender name]

[Sender job title]

[Sender telephone]
[Sender email]

What communication / process sequence is this part of?

Previous step
Long term sick absence management plan template

Our Long Term Sick Absence Management Plan Template facilitates structured support for employees on extended sick leave, ensuring consistent management practices.

This step
Long term absence dismissal letter template
Next step
Dismissal appeal letter template

If you wish to appeal against your dismissal, send this model letter template to your previous employer.

How might this be used in practice?

Scenario: Long-Term Absence Dismissal

ABC Limited, a UK-based company, faces the challenging situation of an employee, Sarah, who has been on long-term sickness absence due to a serious medical condition. HR Manager Emma oversees the process of considering dismissal due to prolonged absence, ensuring that it is handled with sensitivity and in compliance with legal requirements.

Identification of Long-Term Absence

Sarah has been on long-term sickness absence for several months due to a medical condition that is preventing her from returning to work. Despite receiving medical treatment and accommodations from the Company, Sarah's condition has not improved, and there is uncertainty about her ability to resume work in the foreseeable future.

Medical Assessment and Consultation

Emma arranges for an independent medical assessment to evaluate Sarah's medical condition, prognosis, and likelihood of returning to work within a reasonable timeframe. She also consults with Sarah's treating healthcare professionals to gather additional information and insights into her condition.

Review of Absence Management Processs

Emma reviews the company's absence management policy and procedures to ensure that all necessary steps have been taken to support Sarah during her absence. This includes providing reasonable adjustments, offering rehabilitation support, and maintaining regular communication with Sarah to keep her informed of her rights and responsibilities.

Consideration of Alternatives

Before proceeding with dismissal, Emma explores alternatives to termination, such as offering alternative employment or adjusting Sarah's working arrangements to accommodate her medical condition. She considers the feasibility of these options in consultation with Sarah and relevant stakeholders.

Legal Obligations and Fair Process

Emma ensures that the decision to dismiss Sarah is made in compliance with legal requirements, including adherence to the Equality Act 2010 and the company's disciplinary and dismissal procedures. She conducts a thorough review of the evidence and documentation related to Sarah's case to demonstrate that the decision is fair, reasonable, and justified.

Dismissal Decision

After careful consideration and consultation, Emma concludes that dismissal is the only viable option due to the prolonged nature of Sarah's absence and the uncertainty surrounding her ability to return to work. She communicates the decision to Sarah in a compassionate and empathetic manner, offering support and guidance throughout the process.

Support and Assistance

Emma provides Sarah with information about her rights and entitlements upon dismissal, including any severance pay, benefits, or support services available to her. She also offers assistance with accessing additional support, such as occupational health services or career transition resources, to help Sarah navigate the transition effectively.

Why buy our Long term absence dismissal letter template?

  • It's easily editable and implementable, saving you time and money
  • It's designed by CIPD accedited Chartered HR practitioners with operational experience in this area
  • You will maintain compliance with ACAS guidelines, legislation, and industry best practices
What other advantages does buying from offer?
  • Email notifications for any updates made to this template or its accompanying materials
  • 12 months of unrestricted access without any additional costs (any update in that period is free to you)
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